Tag: Three

Isaac Asimov – The Robots of Dawn | Review

Title: The Robots of Dawn

Author: Isaac Asimov

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 3.5/5

This book is one of the installments in Asimov’s Robot series, and so that makes it essentially a science fiction detective novel with a whole bunch of ethics thrown in. Asimov is probably most famous for creating the three laws of Robotics, which are the following:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

What’s fun about this book, like the other books that tie in with these laws, is that Asimov basically created them only so that he could bend and break them. We get some great examples of that here, including some suggestions of scenarios which could cause two of the laws to come into conflict with themselves and to cause a robot to overload.

Then we have the morality side of things. In fact, the whole case here revolves around the murder of a robot, and so there’s a lot of discussion around whether such a thing is even possible. After all, robots aren’t alive, right? There’s even some stuff on how while you can use roboticide and homicide, the word murder” doesn’t seem to quite apply.

Obviously I don’t want to go too much into the details of the plot, because the last thing that I want to do is to spoil it for people. What I will say is that it holds its own both as a science fiction novel and as a mystery novel, and indeed I think that Asimov is one of the underrated masters of the genre. I’ve read a mystery of his called A Whiff of Death which was set in our world on an American college campus, and that was fantastic.

Another piece of good news is that despite the fact that this is the third book in a series, you can still read it as a standalone if you want to. Sure, you’ll get a little more out of it if you follow the series through from start to finish, but it’s not a hard and fast rule and all that you miss out on is a little character development.

So all of this brings us on to the final big question of whether this is worth reading or not, and my answer to that would be 100% yes. Asimov is a fantastic writer no matter what he’s doing, and while there are other books of his that are a lot of fun, this is great too. Jeez, he always is.

Learn more about The Robots of Dawn.

 


Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – The Long Mars | Review

Title: The Long Mars

Author: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 448

Rating 3.5/5

 

 

By now, we’re up to book three of five in this series, and while I do think that the first book was incredible, it’s struggled to live up to the same high standard as the series has continued. We’re helped by the fact that the basic idea behind the story is pretty good and so it’s fun to watch the authors investigate.

In the first of these books, we follow what happens when stepping, a sort of new technology, is unleashed on the unsuspecting population of the world that we live in. With stepper boxes, people can hop from our world to a sort of adjacent parallel world, and that opens up whole new horizons when it comes to exploration.

The last two books have focused mainly on what’s been happening on our world, but in this one we see what happens when some explorers from a version of the earth near the Gap decide to head for Mars. Once there, they discover that you can hop between worlds on Mars too, and that opens up an entirely new type of exploration.

 

 

These books tend to take it pretty easy when it comes to the plot, and so sometimes it can feel as though the plot is dragging as you’re waiting for things to happen. In the first one, I quite liked that because I was having a lot of fun looking at all of the underlying science and the other ideas that it had in it. The problem is that the more time goes on, the more I kind of want the plot to accelerate.

Still, there’s plenty of good stuff here, and I’ll be continuing on with the last two books in the series and maybe even finishing the series by the end of the month. I just think that the series set itself up for a fall because the first book was so good, and the vibe that I’m getting so far is that pretty much everyone should give The Long Earth a go and then only the people who really enjoy that should keep going.

All in all then, I am of course glad that I read this, but at the same time I can appreciate that it’s not for everyone. Still, if you’ve read the first two books and you were thinking about continuing, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t. And it didn’t even end on a crazy cliffhanger like the first two did, so it has that going for it too. And that’s it.

 

 

Click here to buy The Long Mars.